I'm Oswald Schmitz. I'm a professor of Ecology in the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. The series of lectures I'm going to be presenting in this module deal with the issue of understanding biodiversity, thinking about how to conserve it in an effective way, and what that means for human health and well-being. I'm going to begin with an important conundrum, and that is, oftentimes we have maybe a large landscape containing many species and many varieties of species. We're often worried about protecting those species on the landscape from whatever. It could be human alteration of the landscape, human land development, or even environmental threats that could remove species from the landscape. We often have to deal with so many species, maybe hundreds to thousands of species on a particular land space. It would be very difficult to think about in each species individually and provide attention to each individual species. It's just logistically impossible, it's unfeasible. How then do we start to prioritize areas for conservation? Well, there are fundamentally a few different considerations and strategies that we can use to prioritize areas to protect species. I'm going to walk through some of them today. First of all, let's suppose we had a landscape that's demarcated by the green area, the green landscape, and on that landscape we had a variety of different species and each species is represented by a different color. For example, the orange rectangle represents an abundant species. If you look across the landscape, you can see it exists in a wide variety of places across the landscape. On the other hand, we might have extremely rare species like the purple rectangle as depicted, and it occurs in a minor part of the landscape. One strategy that we could take to think about conserving biodiversity is identify the locations on the landscape where you find the most widely distributed species. In this figure here, we've basically drawn circles around the occurrence or locations of where that species is on the landscape. What we can then do is connect in terms of the outer perimeter of where that species resides, and that's the land space occupied by that one species. It is the widest ranging species. If we were to enact procedures or policies to protect that land space bounded by the dashed line, what you would find is that you would be protecting many other species that fall in within that perimeter. This is what we call an umbrella species strategy. The most widely ranging species represents an umbrella that covers the geographic locations of many other species. An example of umbrella species are, for example, jaguars in Amazonian forest, or tigers in India, rhinoceros and elephants in Africa. Another way of looking at things is maybe not so much looking at the most widely distributed species, but maybe there is a species of important conservation concern. Its icon to your conservation area. People hold a lot of value in it. An example might be pandas, for example. Because this species is emblematic of an area, what you might do is just focus on that species and identify the locations where it occurs on the landscape. What you do then is again, you draw a perimeter around the locations where this animal exists or plant species exist, and basically enact policies or procedures to protect that land space delineated by the dashed line, that ensures that you're protecting this one iconic species, but you're also with it, protecting a number of other species that are on the landscape. Because this is an iconic species, it's often known as a flagship species because it is representative. It's a flagship of your conservation efforts or your conservation ideals. This is known as a flagship strategy. Examples of flagship species can range anywhere from a small passerine up in the upper right to orangutans, to polar bears, if you will, you've got butterflies, you've got snakes, you've got tigers again, you've got poison dart frogs, and you could even have plants as being flagship species. It depends on what your conservation goals and priorities are. Finally, what you could do is identify locations on the landscape where you find extremely rare species. Maybe your whole focus is the abundant species are doing well. We don't need to worry about them. They're not of major conservation concern. But there are a few rare species on this landscape that we really need to care about and protect. Focusing on those rare species in the land space occupied by them might be another strategy. Again, what you do is you delineate the land space that's occupied by these species. That perimeter defines the area that you need to protect. What you do is you protect some species as well, but it's really focusing on protecting and ensuring that the rare species stay on the landscape for as long as possible. In summary, the umbrella species, the flag species, and the rare species conservation strategies are different surrogate ways of protecting a whole amount of biodiversity on landscapes. The umbrella species tries to identify and protect the amount of space needed by the widest ranging species, and all other species falling within that wider range should also be protected. That's a strategy where you're likely to get many or the most species as part of your conservation strategy. The flagship species again, identifies an iconic species that's of importance or representative of your conservation movement or concern. They are typically charismatic, they're large species often. Protecting habitats within their ranges should also protect other species associated with those iconic species. Then the rare species concept identifies those species that are vulnerable to extinction threatened. They have an immediate conservation priority. What you do is you delineate the spaces where they are and try and keep them protected on the landscape and not worrying so much about the more abundant species. Protecting rare species obviously is an important goal, but along with that, you may also protect some other species that also occur in the habitats where the rare species are. The thing to keep in mind is that these different conservation strategies results in different outcomes on the landscape. The landscape locations that you protect, and the amount of landscape you've protected can vary with the kind of strategy used. It's really crucial when you're trying to enact conservation strategies is to articulate what your conservation goal is, because you could come up with very different outcomes on the landscape. It's really clear about what you need to do to protect species on the landscape. Really what you need to ask yourself is what attributes of biodiversity you want to protect. Then once you articulate that, that becomes your goal and then you figure out which strategy works best for them.